You may have noticed (all two of you) that I have been missing for a while from these pages, after the rather dramatic declaration that I was collapsing for no reason and had spent the night in hospital.

Well, look, I'm a dramatist. It's what I do.

It is true that I've spent the past week or so falling over, stumbling sideways into walls, breaking glasses, dropping things almost constantly, and swooning like a drunk, legally blind, seasick toddler. But that's just how I roll. The doctors think I have a "mystery virus", which should come as no surprise to anybody who knows me, since if I get sick, I really do make the most of it (see "dramatist", above). It is also apparently what doctors say when they don't know what the hell's wrong with you. When lawyers don't know what to do, they delay the case. Which is why...

In case I do not have a virus, the doctors have recommended that I wear a heart monitor for the day. As a result, I currently look like a rather relaxed individual with a bomb strapped to my chest. The heart monitor traces my heartbeats, so I have been instructed to do all the ordinary things I would do in a day. I am therefore wondering whether the heartbeats increase when I watch "cockatoo dancing to Justin Timberlake" on youtube, or when I receive alarming emails from Rita about how much work I have to do by Friday. I have to keep a journal of any unusual activities which might raise my heart beat, so I'm wondering if "going for a walk" is more important than "swearing at commercial radio". It strikes me, from listening to radio for an hour this arvo while I was walking around trying to make myself faint so that the heart monitor could record my heart beats as I did so, that commercial radio is (as my grandfather would say) chewing gum for the mind. Every now and then (amongst the commercials) there is a news break, which starts off with a featured commercial land then launches into thunderous music followed by a chirpy pre-pubescent lady on crack singing, "News Britney might be getting access to her kids and a soldier returns to Australia a hero. A little heavy on the ring-road, Monash chokas city-bound and it's eighteen degrees in Cheltenham".

Why have news breaks?


Anyway, as you can see, I've had a bit of time to think about these things and it seems to me that one should wear a heart monitor all the time, in order to know what to avoid. There are several people I am very glad I didn't run across in the street, for instance. And I'm really quite glad I didn't go and see Saw III.

Hoping this finds you well, and thanks for your concern. For those of you who didn't express concern, get yourselves a heart monitor and SEE IF YOURS IS WORKING AT ALL etc.

PS I just got "trick or treated". In Australia. By Australian children dressed in Disney costumes no doubt made in China.

I'm officially old and grumpy. That's probably what the heart monitor print-out will say. "You're old and grumpy. Get over it".